The Kerala government said on Friday that the second dose of Covishield will be administered between four and six weeks for those who need the vaccine to travel abroad. Since the CoWIN portal currently doesn't allow registration in that time period after the government increased the interval between both doses to 8-12 weeks, the state informed that it will be recorded separately by district health authorities. "A person who has taken Covishield and wishes to get travel clearance will be eligible for 2nd dose of Covishield vaccine after 4 to 6 weeks of the previous schedule. Since, currently the COVID portal does not permit administering the 2nd dose of Covishield within a period of less than 12 weeks, this is to be recorded separately by the districts," the order from Health and Family Welfare Department on May 28 reads.
The order states that though the state government had requested for these changes to be made in the CoWIN portal, no response was yet received. The state took this decision also because Covaxin is not accepted in many countries as COVID-19 vaccination. "As per the new schedule prescribed by the Government of India, the 2nd dose is to be taken at 12-16 weeks after the first dose. This sudden change has derailed the travel plans for many as they had decided their travel based on the old schedule of 4 - 6 weeks. Many beneficiaries are at the risk of losing their job if they donâ€™t report to work within the stipulated time frame," says the order.
The government has also decided to issue vaccination certificates in a prescribed format as required for people going abroad. The department has mentioned that they would include passport numbers in the certificate. Currently, in the vaccination certificate, the ID proof which was used at the time of registration in CoWIN is documented. Since many use IDs other than the passport, Kerala had requested the Union government to add a provision to add the passport number.
"The Government of Kerala will issue the certificate in the prescribed format wherein passport number will be recorded and vaccination certificate issued to a person who wishes to go get travel clearance and requires such certificates. The District Medical Officer is authorised as the competent authority to issue such certificate of vaccination in the prescribed format," the order says.
Since some of the countries don't accept Covaxin, Kerala said that for those who travel abroad Covishield will be given as preference, based on the policy of the destination country.